The Man with HIV

Another documented euthanasia that violated this and other guidelines was depicted in a Dutch documentary played in this country in the PBS program the Health Quarterly, in 1993. Henk Dykma had asymptomatic HIV infection. Fearing future afflictions that might befall him, Henk asked his doctor to kill him. The film shows the doctor telling Henk that he might live for years at his current state of seemingly healthful living. When Henk still proclaims a desire to die, the doctor speaks with a colleague but never consults a psychiatrist or psychologist. He then helps kill Henk on July 28, a date, we are told, which had symbolic importance for the patient.

This killing, like those of the anorexic young woman and the bereaved mother, was clearly not a matter of last resort, as the guidelines claim to require. Henk and his doctor did not explore all other options available to him before ending his life. Indeed, psychiatric treatment, which might have alleviated Henk's obvious anxiety about being HIV-positive, was never even discussed or attempted. Nor was Henk advised of the steps that could be taken to alleviate his suffering should he fall ill. The doctor didn't even wait until Henk had actual symptoms of AIDS. There is a word for that level of care --abandonment --and it demonstrates the utter hollowness of the Dutch protective guidelines.

Source: Wesley Smith article "We Ignore the Dutch Legalization of Euthanasia at Our Own Peril" December 17, 2000.

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